Motivating why OLS minimizes the sum of squared errors

This course aims to teach the basics of data analysis needed in a Social Sciences oriented University like SciencesPo. We purposefully start at a level that assumes no prior knowledge about statistics whatsoever. Our objective is to have our 2nd year undergraduates understand and be able to interpret linear regression analysis. We will not rely on maths and statistics, but practical learning in order to teach the main concepts.

The course is taught on several SciencesPo campuses. I am the main course architect and maintainer.


  • The online textbook is available here.
  • The associated R package is on github.
Florian Oswald
Florian Oswald
Associate Professor of Economics

I’m interested in Urban/Macro/Labour/IO and computational methods